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Unveiling the Timeless Elegance: The Old Cut Diamond

Diamonds have captivated human hearts for centuries, and among the various diamond styles, the Old Cut Diamond holds a special place, embodying history, craftsmanship, and enduring charm. In this blog, we'll explore the captivating history, the appeal of the Old Cut versus the Round Brilliant Cut, understand the price differences, and unravel the delicate process of cutting these timeless gems.

Old cut Diamond Drawing by Dimitri Gemmology Obsession - Black Background - Title Bright
Old Cut Diamond, drawn by Dimitri at Gemmology Obsession

A Glimpse into History

The Old Cut Diamond, also known as the Antique Cut or the Old European Cut, emerged during the early 18th century and reigned as the pinnacle of diamond cutting until the late 19th century.

The Old European Cut was particularly popular in the Victorian era when it eclipsed the rougher Old Mine Cuts and Rose Cuts which had been prevalent in the Georgian era

There's a great collection of antique rings at The Antique Ring Boutique.

These diamonds reflect the technological limitations of their time. With fewer facets compared to modern cuts, Old Cut Diamonds possess a distinctive charm characterized by large, flat facets, a high crown, and a small table. The larger culets (bottom facets) and open facets capture and refract light in a way that evokes a gentle, romantic glow.


Choosing the Old Cut: Tradition and Character

While the Round Brilliant Cut may be the modern standard, many diamond enthusiasts are drawn to the Old Cut for its undeniable character and historical significance. The Old Cut Diamond exudes a warmth and elegance that cannot be replicated by its more contemporary counterparts. The chunky, irregular facets tell a tale of hand-cutting techniques, contrasting sharply with the precision and symmetry of modern cuts. This uniqueness appeals to individuals seeking a connection with the past and a piece of jewellery that narrates a tale of bygone eras.


Here’s an example of a ring with an old-cut diamond.

An Exceptional Victorian Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring, 18ct Yellow Gold


The Round Brilliant vs. The Old Cut: A Matter of Preference

Choosing between a Round Brilliant and an Old Cut Diamond is often a matter of personal preference. The Round Brilliant, with its 57 to 58 facets, boasts exceptional brilliance and fire, which stems from modern technological advancements in diamond cutting. It's an excellent choice for those who desire maximum sparkle and a contemporary look. On the other hand, the Old Cut, with its fewer facets (typically 58 or fewer), showcases a broader, more subdued play of light, focusing on a softer and more romantic glow. While the Round Brilliant may capture the spotlight, the Old Cut thrives in the subtleties, offering a more understated elegance.


The Price Paradox

Price is a pivotal factor in the decision-making process when it comes to diamonds. In general, Old Cut Diamonds are often less expensive than their Round Brilliant counterparts of similar carat weight, primarily due to their less intricate cutting process. The Round Brilliant's complex arrangement of facets requires advanced technology and precise cutting, making it costlier to produce. Moreover, the Old Cut's vintage appeal doesn't attract the same level of market demand as modern cuts, which can impact its pricing. This offers an enticing opportunity for those who seek a unique, historically rich diamond without breaking the bank.


The Art of Cutting an Old Cut Diamond: A Labor of Love

The creation of an Old Cut Diamond is an art form that requires the skilled hands of a master cutter. In the past, diamond cutting was a labour-intensive process, often done by hand using simple tools like a hand-cranked wheel. Cutters carefully shaped the diamond crystals into their unique forms, maximizing the gem's brilliance within the technological limitations of the time. This personal touch and attention to detail resulted in diamonds that, though less symmetrical than modern cuts, possess an undeniable character.

Three of the most Famous Old Cut Diamonds

Koh-i-Noor Diamond: Perhaps one of the most famous diamonds in the world, the Koh-i-Noor ("Mountain of Light") diamond is an Old Cut Diamond with a history dating back to the 14th century. It has adorned the crowns of various rulers and is currently part of the British Crown Jewels.

The Orloff Diamond, also known as the "Great White Diamond of the Russian Crown," is a 189.62-carat, cushion-cut Old Mine cut diamond. It is said to have been the eye of a statue of the temple of Brahma in Pondicherry, India, before it was acquired and became part of Russian royal regalia.

The Regent Diamond is a 140.64-carat diamond that is often considered one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world. It has a cushion-cut Old Mine shape and has been part of several crowns and jewellery of French royalty, including Louis XV and Marie Antoinette.


In essence, the Old Cut Diamond is not just a gem but a piece of history and a reminder of the craftsmanship of bygone eras. The choice between an Old Cut and a Round Brilliant Cut depends on your preference, showcasing the delicate balance between tradition and modernity. While the Round Brilliant may shine brightly, the Old Cut Diamond shines in its vintage elegance, connecting us to the past while adorning the present.

Other guides to cuts:


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